Top Legislative Priorities
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently issued a final rule entitled, “Control of Air Pollution from New Motor Vehicles: Heavy-Duty Engine and Vehicle Standards” for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles for model years 2027 and later. This rule imposes between $39 and $55 billion in new regulatory costs on the trucking industry between 2027 and 2045, and requires expensive, new and untested technologies that could result in new commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) that are unaffordable or do not meet the performance standards needed for purchasers’ businesses. When new CMVs do not sell, older, less environmentally-friendly CMVs stay on the road. Today’s new trucks have already reduced nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions between 98-99% overall. The best way to improve air quality is to incentivize fleet turnover with the goal of retiring pre-2010 trucks, which do not employ the latest emissions technologies. On Nov. 17, Sen. Ernst (R-Iowa) and 16 Republican Senators sent a letter to the EPA urging the agency to adopt a rule that is technologically achievable and affordable. Congress should place greater emphasis on fleet turnover and hold oversight hearings to closely examine the marginal benefits of the NOx rule and its related costs and impacts on small businesses and U.S. jobs.
Congress should repeal the outdated 12% federal excise tax (FET) imposed on new heavy-duty trucks to accelerate turnover of America’s aging truck fleet, which will lead to cleaner, safer trucks on the road. First enacted in 1917 to help pay for World War I, this tax routinely adds $22,000 or more to the price of a new heavy-duty truck. The FET is levied in addition to the nearly $40,000 per truck cost due to recent federal emissions and fuel-economy mandates. Additionally, the FET can add more than $50,000 to the price of an electric or hydrogen fuel-cell truck, and these vehicles are already more than twice the price of internal combustion engine trucks. While new trucks have made significant environmental gains, such as reducing NOx emissions by 98-99% since the late 1990s and particulate matter emissions by 98%, the FET remains a costly barrier to the purchase of new trucks equipped with the latest environmental technologies. With more than half of the Class 8 trucks on the road today over 10 years old, FET repeal would immediately benefit the environment by incentivizing the replacement of older trucks with cleaner, safer and more fuel-efficient trucks.
Last Congress, the bipartisan “Modern, Clean, and Safe Trucks Act of 2022” (H.R. 8116/S. 2435) was introduced to repeal the FET. This bill is expected to be reintroduced soon. Congress should pass legislation to repeal the FET and spur turnover of America’s aging truck fleet.
Catalytic converters are being stolen at increasingly higher rates due to their valuable metals, such as rhodium, platinum and palladium. Thefts reported in insurance company claims have sharply increased over the past three years, and the National Insurance Crime Bureau estimates that these thefts increased by 326% in 2020 and another 353% in 2021. Gas-powered medium-duty trucks are often targeted by thieves, as many of these vehicles have catalytic converters which can be easily accessed. Since catalytic converters are not readily traceable, there is a lucrative market for these stolen parts. These thefts are costing businesses and vehicle owners millions of dollars. Last Congress, the bipartisan “Preventing Auto Recycling Theft Act” (PART Act) (H.R. 6394/S. 5024) was introduced to combat catalytic converter theft and garnered 57 House cosponsors. This legislation would help law enforcement combat this crime by providing a national framework that would mark catalytic converters, establish federal criminal penalties, and create a more transparent market that deters its theft. In May, NADA and 14 other groups, including ATD, sent a letter in support of the PART Act. This legislation is expected to be reintroduced soon. Congress should pass the PART Act to address the growing national problem of catalytic converter theft.
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NADA Legislative Affairs Staff
About Legislative Affairs
Learn how NADA Legislative Affairs protects and promotes franchised auto and truck dealerships' interests before Congress. Find the latest legislation affecting the automotive retail industry, including issues such as auto finance, tax policy, vehicle commerce, fuel economy and the environment, as well as grassroots.